Saturday, 1 October 2011

October Delights





The unfurling stem of this white autumn cyclamen looks like a small snake uncurling its sinuous body. Those of you for whom snakes in the garden are commonplace will no doubt put me right. As I have never seen a snake here, this pretender will have to do. You can even see the tongue,  unfortunately unforked, testing for whatever snakes test their environment for.






The October Bunting is out. Virginia creepers are a magnificent sight at this time of year. The one above grows on an ancient stone wall and the one below has sneaked its tendrils into the welcoming arms of a conifer.




October is not only golden, it also decks itself out in the most glorious shades of red. Below is another example:



Ripe elderberries have been picked, laboriously removed from every little bit of stem and stalk, left to ferment in a bucket for a few days, and are now sitting in their demijohns, fitted with fermentation locks and bungs, to complete fermentation, before they are bottled and stored for a year or two to mature. The homely sound of  bubbles escaping from the locks will accompany us throughout October.

It is such a shame that I simply cannot get my personal wine drinking tastebuds adapted to fruit wines. Beloved drinks his fruit wine with pleasure, whereas I demand the fermented grape. I am more than happy to use his product for cooking, though; it adds the most deliciously fruity tang to many of my stews and casseroles and a meat sauce or hearty gravy is much improved by it.





When I opened the back door this morning I walked straight into the gossamer threads of a spider's web.

It's a slightly unpleasant feeling and I instinctively swiped at my face and flapped my hands in front of me. Luckily, the centre of the web was higher up, against the doorframe and I damaged very little.



I quickly looked for the spider itself; it was hiding a long way from the web, with a fine signal line  leading from its secretive retreat in the angle between doorframe and wall. Araneus diadematus is one of the most common and best known orb weavers. It is easily identified by the distinctive white cross on its back (although in some specimens it is indistinct or missing). This spider is most commonly called the 'garden spider' in England, it is also known as the cross spider. They are common in woodlands, heathlands and gardens. I am not sure if this representative of its kind still has the requisite number of legs.

The garden spider is mature from summer to autumn and at its largest in late autumn and often full of eggs. After laying their eggs the females die and only the eggs and the spiders that hatched in spring that year will overwinter. I couldn't see a nest; although I am not frightened of spiders and quite a fan of wildlife, I probably wouldn't want to share my house with a large family of them.



56 comments:

  1. loved your fall review. I'm a fan of fruit wines, blackberry and plum. never had elderberry wine though the plants grow well here. and the spider is lovely. she must have spun her web there to take advantage of a porch light?

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  2. That surely does look like a snake, Friko, what a great catch. I love to see the colorful pictures decorating my bloggers' websites these days. Yours are especially beautiful, and being a fan of spiders myself, I thank you for introducing me to yours! :-)

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  3. Dear Friko, thank you for the colorful photographs that welcome the month of October and its Fall bounty. I'm not a fan of spiders or snakes but both seem quite beautiful in your photographs. In fact, I've never looked that closely at a spider and I found his markings intriguing.

    Peace.

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  4. nice...the elderberries will be good next year...smiles...lovely leaf curtain there as well...54 degrees this AM...cool crisp and full of color...

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  5. We have planted elderberry, but there weren't enough berries to bother doing anything this year. I'd like to try the elder-flower cordial one day.
    Spiders - they sense me, they find me and then they bite me. It's a mystery.

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  6. Peaceful and reflective post. Just lovely.

    I'm not a huge fan of fruit wines either. The only one I have liked so far is cranberry, mostly because it has that specific cranberry tang.

    d'Arty

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  7. I'll take the leaves - you can keep the spider! LOL ♥

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  8. All I saw when I awoke ...dancing dust motes. Now the berries have me thinking of that lovely Elton John song. ~Mary

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  9. Oh, that cascade of leaves is glorious! All is soggy here. That is some spider; glad you did not disturb its web too much. They are such masterpieces!

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  10. I love to see an airlock working. I, too, make wine - 136 grape vines at last count. Skipping this year, though. What to do with all of those grapes?

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  11. Absolutely fabulous photos! I am now in the mood for fall even more! Elderberry wine--reminds me of my dad (he used to make it as a hobby). This is a very enjoyable post :)

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  12. Beautiful photos of this time of year. I respect spiders but do not enjoy walking into their webs. We have one very similar to yours and at least three have made HUGE webs around the outside. Ewww.

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  13. I have walked into Autumn by visiting your images...and now I have another good reason for visiting your fair land...no serpents!

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  14. Great post, Friko. Love that curtain of fall colors. Just scrumptious. The wine sounds good to me. I love all fruit wines. The photo of the web with your garden in the background is lovely. That spider looks like she's going to have quite a brood. She's attractive, from a distance

    I enjoyed this. Thank You!

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  15. Nice photos. Gardens are certainly delightful places, aren't they? Except when they're scary!

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  16. Lovely photographs. The poor spider appears to have lost a leg or two. My favorite is the elderberry wine in process.

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  17. a perfect post to ponder!



    Warm Aloha from Waikiki;

    Comfort Spiral



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    > < } } ( ° >

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  18. Bonza photos, i especially like the riot of colours going on in the garden in photos 2, 3 :-).

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  19. Autumn leaves, spiders webs and home-made wine - the masterpieces of the fall.

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  20. People who take the time to photograph spiderwebs have good souls.

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  21. Such beautiful..comforting autumn scenes and images - all but the spider...:-)!

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  22. ahhh - you captured so much of autumn's beauty in these lines and pictures....spider webs are magical..an artwork in itself..

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  23. I've seen enough snakes and spiders to last me a lifetime, so if I never see any more, I'll be quite happy. Right now I'm having a war with a solitary house fly who has take a liking to my computer, and my head. Why do I now have a dog instead of a fly-catching cat?
    Sigh.
    Enough grumbling. I enjoyed your post, as always, Friko. I haven't checked my Virginia Creeper for colour yet. Must do that.

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

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  24. What a marvelous welcome to October! (I am particularly impressed that you know the name for that spider.)

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  25. I'm with you Friko, a dry red wine or possibly a Rhine. Our Virginia Creeper hasn't turned yet, but the spider plague is in full force. Our dogwoods are approaching full color and maples are starting to tease. We're probably about 3 weeks from peak color. Jim

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  26. The fall review in photo was great. Spiders, I am deathly afraid of after a brown recluse bit my sister on the arm and she was hospitalized for weeks.

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  27. Friko, I so like these examples of autumn's arrival that you have shown us.

    Leaves are just beginning to turn colors here in New York, perhaps delayed a bit by our recent wet weather.

    I've never had the opportunity to sample any fruit wines (other than those grapey ones, of course) so wonder if I would like them. Your idea of using them in cooking sounds delicious.

    I've been seeing many spiderweb photos on UK blogs, and wonder why I haven't seen any web spinning results over here in NYC.

    Got my eyes peeled.

    Your photos are always a treat. Hoping that you and yours are continuing to feel better by the day.

    xo

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  28. Beautiful photos, Friko, and a wonderful glimpse at what October looks like in your part of the world!

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  29. This post evokes autumn from beginning to end. I am utterly jealous that you have never seen a snake in your garden. Ours are harmless, but I still shudder and cringe every time I see one, which is usually in the spring.

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  30. Splendid photos. So autumnal and full of color.

    It is becoming the season of spiders here, too. Their webs are amazing, but I dislike walking face-first into them; I'm sure that, even more, spiders hate to see me coming their way.

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  31. Lovely photos Friko. I want to point out a grammatical issue though - the past tense of sneak, as in 'sneaked' is normally 'snucked' - at least in my head it is.
    xx

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  32. I prefer a nice dry wine also or else something more on the tart side. As for protecting the spiders of the world I need to be counted out I'm afraid. I saw three spiders as big, or bigger, than my hand today--crossing the highway as if they owned it.

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  33. What a beautiful banquet of colors and textures
    Hugs
    SueAnn

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  34. Hi Friko - what a brilliant exposition of all that is good about Autumn - lovely photos too .. so true .. and the smell from the bubbling elderflower wine - must add to the scenting wonders of crushed leaves etc ..

    Wonderful to read .. and the spider and her web .. lovely - they are amazing creatures .. the thing that staggers me is the number of baby spiders that appear and scatter in all directions .. a great starburst of them .. thanks and loved reading a little more about the Garden Spider ..

    Cheers hope your weather is still holding in the Indian Summer - glorious down here .. Hilary

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  35. Hello:
    What a wonderful ode to autumn this is with all its magical colours, sights and scents. And, what a wonderful scene you paint of homely pursuits and the glories of the Natural World.

    The gossamer threads of spider webs add a magnificent sheen to everything, just as if everything has put on its party clothes ready for the farewell to summer 'do' on the lawn!

    The demi-johns of fruit wine look absolutely wonderful, such a rich colour and we are sure that the end results will be delicious. Yes, the 'bunting is out'....hurrah!!

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  36. There can be fewer sounds more comforting than the regular plopping of a healthily fermenting brew. It's such a shame that you are not fond of fruit wines but I can imagine how good your sauces must taste.

    Anna

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  37. Lovely photos, Friko, of what are clearly October delights. Yes, that cyclamen stem does appear to be a small snake. Had it been the real thing, the experience might have been a tad less delightful.

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  38. Your pictures are simply mind blowing!

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  39. You have inspired me to go camera-tramping to capture some of the Newfoundland Fall!
    Thank you!
    XO
    WWW

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  40. Love the cyclamen closeup -- actually, all your pictures are great. Someone is very patient to pick all those tiny stems off that many elderberries.

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  41. Friko, Those fall pictures are gorgeous! I'm still waiting for fall foilage around here . . . it's taking it's sweet time. We actually need a good freeze for the colors to explode, and there's no sign of that in the near future.

    You are most generous about snakes and spiders. I am not fond of either!

    Thanks for your comments about my girls stuff! Someday, they will know what it's like!

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  42. i would like to try some fruit wine sometime. i've only had grape myself.
    the leaves are dripping with color and light.
    thanks for the visit at my place. i don't make any special point to talk about scratching:)

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  43. i keep thinking i should have a go at wine making - but its probably best for the walls of our house if i don't :)

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  44. My granddad used to make elderberry wine - mmmmmm. Your descriptions and photos have me imagining booking a ticket and flying over to see all that beauty for myself . SInce that's not likely, I thank you for sharing it all here :)

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  45. FAAAABULOUS colours! As it's spring downunder, we won't be seeing them here for awhile!! I don't know what garden snakes look like either - not because there aren't any, but because I run like hell if they're even rumoured to be near ...

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  46. Wonderful photos. I adore the colours. Autumn certainly puts on a show for us.

    I'm not a fan of fruit wines either, but I agree with you in that they're great for cooking.

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  47. The elderberry wine looks very pretty .... certainly a lot better than rhubarb or my personal non-favourite Mock Port ( made with beetroot and cloves ) .
    And I'll envy you your delicious sauces this winter .

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  48. Wow! What a gorgeous site you have. Your photographs are eye catching. Love the cyclamen. up here in the Greath North (nothern New England) it would be a Fiddlehead fern unfolding and people collecting it to boil and eat.

    Thanks for visiting my blog too!

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  49. Beautiful photos, specially the cyclamen, which is not only interesting but also seems technically interesting, and not quite real looking.

    I do like the idea of autumn bunting.

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  50. Friko, this is truly delightful. You have such a wonderful eye, and your prose is always so uplifting and calming.

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  51. Autumn is definitely moving into the neighborhood. Great pictures. I prefer the wine of the grape, too.

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  52. A post to showcase the riches of autumn - delightful.

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  53. Such beautiful autumn pics.. though I'm not a fan of spiders.

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  54. Elderberry wine, wow. I love the word demijohn. The colors are so great, here too.

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